Just Finding A Balance

I mentioned in the last Open Thread that Governor Inslee has released a clean water plan. The piece I linked to had mentioned Senator Mark Schoesler’s objections. I’ve now read the relevant press release, and I’m not sure why they needed to quote it.

Water-quality standards need to increase and any new standards must balance a cleaner environment with protecting family budgets and jobs. Most people can’t afford to have their sewer bills jump to $200 per month. Any extreme increase in regulations jeopardizes jobs and hurts the poor. Extreme measures, like what we’ve seen in Oregon, won’t bring the balance we need to make this work for everyone.”

OK. So we’re looking to find balance. Just finding the right balance. Senator Schoesler and I would probably disagree about where that balance might be, but at least we can all agree that we should look both at environmental concerns and at economic and other uses of our waters.

Obviously, Governor Inslee did that. Senator Schoesler may disagree with where he found that balance. Hell, I might disagree. Let’s see what balanced questions Senator Schoesler is asking.

  • How much local fish do Washington residents actually consume, and if we don’t know, why don’t we know the real number?

Well, it varies. I’m not much of a fish eater. But a lot of people eat a lot of fish. Of course you want to protect the people who eat more. There are plenty of people who eat more than 23 meals with seafood a month, and plenty who don’t.

So far, the balance of questions is 1 for less regulation and 0 for more.

  • The City of Bellingham estimates that sewer bills will increase to $200 per month. How will low-income families and households on fixed incomes afford $2,400 per year for their sewer bills?

Wait, to $200? What is it now? If it’s $199.99 that’s very different from if it’s free (to take two extreme examples). Also — and this will shock you from a GOP press release — there’s no link to the actual source. But I highly doubt that this is in relation to the governor’s plan given that the plan had been out less than a day when this press release was put out.

I’m all for municipalities figuring out how to make bills more based on people’s ability to pay than on just the cost of providing those services. But I don’t think we should wait until they figure that out to act on clean water.

Two questions for less regulation and zero for more. Balance.

  • If 90 percent of fish that people eat is from a foreign source, how will we measure the benefits to people’s health?

Again, no source. And again, it’s not going to be perfectly balanced. Some people, people who fish or who look for local food in particular, are going to be affected by this decision more than people who buy imported fish. If we can figure out ways to protect them too, that would be great. But those are the people who eat fish who Washington State can best protect.

Balance update: 3 questions for less regulation, 0 for more.

  • How will cities, counties and businesses comply without the necessary technology to meet the new water standards?

I’m not 100% sure what the question is. Is it how does technology advance to meet needs or is it what if businesses and municipalities don’t want to pay for the technology? If it’s the first, you know markets tend to be pretty good at figuring that sort of thing out. If it’s the later, um, tough shit that’s why we have regulations.

Balance: 4 questions for less regulation 0 for more regulation.

  • What is the real economic impact in lost jobs, wages and community economic health that your regulations will cost us?

The question assumes that nobody looking into those standards considered economic impact. Or perhaps, this is supposed to hang on the word “real.” You know: we should all assume that because some GOP press release wanted to know “the real impact,” that that any talk about the economic impact is fake. Also, toxic chemicals in the water may have negative consequences, even real economic ones.

So final count: 5 questions for less regulation, 0 for more. So “the balance we need” is just as little regulation as possible.


  1. 1

    Dr. Hilarius spews:

    People like the senator avoid the issue that pollution by private enterprise is in effect a subsidy by the taxpayers he claims to care about. Businesses dump, literally, their costs on the public.

  2. 2

    tensor spews:

    “Businesses dump, literally, their costs on the public”

    Wait, are you trying to say there’s all kinds of waste in the private sector? Because that’s doubleplus unpossible — just ask Supply-Side Jesus and St. Ayn of Ronnie!

  3. 4

    tensor spews:

    “How much local fish do Washington residents actually consume, and if we don’t know, why don’t we know the real number?”

    And if we do have statistics on such things, that’s proof our government is too big and intrusive. Free-market ideology cannot fail, suckers!